GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
China-Qatar Cooperation in Energy Sector: Searching for a Strategic Partnership .
Paper Proposal Text :
China-Qatar Cooperation in Energy Sector:
Searching for a Strategic Partnership .
Dr. Gafar K. Ahmed
(Middle East Studies Institute, Shanghai International Studies University)

Abstract: This paper discusses the China-Qatar relations in the energy sector from 1988 to November 2015 when the two countries decided to build a strategic partnership and promote bilateral practical cooperation to a higher level mainly in the Energy sector. It is believed that the bilateral relations between the two countries in the energy sector experienced three main distinctive phrases. The first phase is from 1988 to 2002, the second phase is from 2002 to 2008, the third one from 2008 to 2015. In fact Sino-Qatari cooperation in the energy sector was the focus for the bilateral relations since the formal diplomatic ties were established in 1988. Dialogue on the energy cooperation started in 1994 when the two sides signed a MOU to supply China with 2.5 million metric tons of LNG. A joint commission was established in 1995 to survey China’s future gas demands, especially from Qatar. Yet, the two countries failed to translate over a decade efforts into a concrete basis for a meaningful cooperation in these sectors.
The second phase is from 2002 to 2008. China-Qatari relations experienced a major setback as a result of Qatar’s failure in securing the Guandong tender of building the LNG terminal and trunk line project and provide China with LNG. According to China, the instability in the Middle East and fears from sabotage on shipments at the Malaga Strait are the main reasons to reject the Qatari tender. Nonetheless, Qatar was not convinced and stated that the lack of transparency in the bidding was the real reason. The bilateral relations suffer a setback. The Qatari authorities ignored several requests from the Chinese companies to hold talks on the future energy cooperation.
The third phase if from 2008 to 2015.This stage is featured with increasing involvement of energy companies of both countries. Mutual confidence was restored with strong initiatives advocated by the Qatari ambassadors to China. The significant breakthrough was made in 2008 when the Qatari Prime Minister visited Beijing. This visit was historic for two reasons. One is that a number of energy and petrochemical agreements were signed. It signifies that the biggest LNG producer and the biggest LNG consuming market finally come together. The other is that Qatar opened up its natural gas market to foreigners for the first time. The Chinese energy companies firstly benefited from this policy. Moreover, the China’s anxieties on the complexity of the Iranian situation, broadening cooperation with the Gulf States on the energy sector become more pragmatic.
Finally, this paper concludes by examining challenges and recommendations to enhance strategic cooperation between the two countries in energy sector.